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Fostering a “culture of belonging” at UKAS

On the 16th September 2022, UKAS colleagues came together at a live Webinar hosted by our CEO, Matt Gantley. We were joined by guest speaker, Nicholé McGill-Higgins, who is an award-winning Race Equality Campaigner and Belonging leadership coach.  This day marked a milestone for the organisation, as it was the launch of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiative, focused on fostering a “Culture of Belonging”. We believe this step is important, not only for UKAS employees, but also in the wider UKAS community, including customers, stakeholders and Technical Assessors. 

Nicholé has been pivotal in supporting us as we embark on this journey. During the webinar, Nicholé further explained why a diverse and inclusive culture is important for UKAS and how everyone can contribute as individuals and collectively, in creating this culture. We all come to work with “learned behaviours” and these behaviours can be unlearnt, to allow us to create an environment where people can bring their authentic selves to work, connect with others, and feel they belong.   

“It is common in the EDI space to act in response to an event. It has been a pleasure working with an organisation such as UKAS, who are being proactive rather than reactive. UKAS has a genuine want to cultivate a sense of belonging throughout the whole organisation, and this has been obvious to me from my first couple of interactions with the business.

The role modelling from Matt is refreshing and commendable and we are seeing employees really wanting to drive the agenda forward collectively. This is exactly where any organisation should want to be and something UKAS should be proud of” Nicholé McGill-Higgins 

We value the contribution that everyone brings to the business and this initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture. It was a very thought provoking and engaging session for us all.  

Since the launch of our initiative, we have released EDI Statement that further embeds our commitment.  

In October 2022, we recognised the importance of pronouns and offered our people the option to display their pronouns on their email signatures. Identity is an important aspect of belonging and it has been a positive step forward to see people embracing this change either through personal identity or allyship others.  


What next?  

We are in the process of creating Employee Resource Groups, which are employee-led groups that support and promote diverse and inclusive practices within the organisation, furthering UKAS’s commitment to fostering a culture of belonging.  

We will also be introducing bespoke EDI workshops to support our managers and their teams on this journey, to further embed our understanding of what EDI means and how we can all contribute.  

Our goal is to continuously review our policies and processes and develop initiatives to ensure EDI is at the forefront of what we do.  

“Our people is what makes UKAS what it is today. Therefore, it is important to me that everyone feels that they belong in our organisation and the EDI launch was just the beginning of this important and exciting journey” Matt Gantley, UKAS, CEO 

Change starts with us, and we look forward to seeing our culture evolve.